My puppy has been scratching his chin on carpet & furniture he has developed little red sores on either side of his bottom lip. He is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, 10 months old, is it serious?

If your puppy is scratching and has swelling of his lips or his face it could be an allergic reaction and this requires treatment immediately from your local bricks and mortar vet.

If there is no swelling, and he is otherwise well, and only mildly irritated by the itch, then it is less serious. However the more he scratches, the more likely he will get a secondary infection of the area.

The little red sores may or may not already be infected.

Scratching is really just a symptom and can be the result of many underlying causes. In this case, we really need to find the cause of the itch so that we can treat your puppy’s problem (not just the symptom). This will help us reach the best treatment plan too.

Some of the underlying causes of itch might be:

  • Allergies – environmental pollens, fleas, food. We know that when humans have allergies to pollens etc they react by sneezing or getting watery eyes. In dogs, the common reaction to an allergen is that their skin gets itchy.
  • Mites -There are 2 types that can cause issues in young dogs – demodex and sarcoptes. Your local vet needs to do some simple tests to diagnose these, a few skin scrapes are performed (no anaesthetic needed) and then they look under the microscope, searching for the mites.
  • Direct irritant – Such as a topical cream, weed, wash or insect bite. You could bathe the area in some saline tonight (1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in 1 cup boiling water and then allowed to COOL before use)

A hands-on examination from your local vet would be a great place to start.

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Chat soon,

Dr Claire

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